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05/24/10

  08:05:03 am, by The Dreamer   , 458 words  
Categories: Software

Three (or more...) Peeves with Quicken Premier 2010

Now that I've been running Quicken Premier 2010 for a while (since making the switch to Microsoft's abandoned Money Plus), I have found a few things that are kind of annoying about it. That's on top of things I found early on like the cash flow feature and upcoming bills isn't the same....

First is Online Updates. It is slow, opens dialogs that look like they have focus...but don't...yet can intercept keyboard focus. It doesn't allow me to continue using Quicken while it is updating (Money did). And, kind of part of Peeve Two...it opens the dialogs randomly either on monitor the application is running in, or the other monitor. And, it isn't necessarily opened visible...so Quicken will be hung waiting on a dialog...and just beep annoyingly if I click on it. Have to switch to another application and then back to find where the hidden dialog is.

Third the estimated amount feature of upcoming bills...if you skip a payment (or more) those affect the estimate....but skipping a payment doesn't make future payments cheaper. IE, going to EOF (Every Other Friday)...sometimes an EOF doesn't take place because other people have family commitments. But, what I spend at an EOF is fairly consistent...but varies. Or groceries....do it almost every week....but skipping a week doesn't mean I'm going to spend less from now on (in fact usually the opposite). Annoying right now, because the EOF upcoming bill has '(no amount)' for it.

Four? -- Can't use the Validate feature...it makes a mess of all my accounts. Everything is right, but validate makings a major mess of my data....and makes wild balances where there's no obvious explanation on how it came up with those messed up numbers. So, can't even begin to fix my accounts after running Validate. Had to restore from a backup.

Okay....Five Can't read the end of last line (Payment & Balance columns) if not using Two-Line display...so lots of wasted space and little detail. Guess the separate below the register entry area was the way to go....but its just buttons for 'Enter/Edit/Split/@' above the open entry at end (instead of below ... or on the second line of two-line mode).

Six -- Flags....it is the same for Downloaded Transactions & Bill and Income Reminders...and don't get me started on how reminders work....how do you tell them apart without clicking the accounts?

Wait, Seven Automatic reminders....you can't edit them, so an upcoming bills that automatically charge your account....like my cellphone bills....which can vary occasionally...like when I go to Canada....they should get auto entered at some point, but need to be able to change (and enter..early). Also if you set auto enter to 0 days before the transaction...it never auto enters.

There's probably more...if I had thought to write this post sooner...and later...and... but....

05/18/10

  08:29:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 703 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, Networking, BOINC, Ubuntu

'Accidentally' Upgraded 'box' to Lucid

Last night I wasn't thinking....running into the fact that my boinc-client package is broken on 'box', I thought..."why isn't it running the boinc-client from Lucid?" And, I proceeded to fix it with "apt-get"...and then realized that I'm still running karmic and unbreaking it wasn't. The boinc-client pre-Lucid is too old for a project I'm in, and it is annoying how ubuntu doesn't update packages within releases (which get's really annoying with LTS.)

Anyways....I decided the way to resolve the mess I had now made by downgrading my boinc-client, was to upgrade to Lucid Lynx 10.04LTS. It was my plan to upgrade both my Ubuntu servers to 10.04LTS (the other being 'orac' which is currently 8.04LTS)....but I was going to put it off to when I had more time and allow time for the release to stabilize (given all the issues I had when I first started running box on fresh Karmic).

So, it started....things got a little annoying, in that the upgrade requires attention....and I didn't want to spend my whole evening watching it upgrade. So, I'd check it now and then, and sometimes find it stuck waiting for me to make a decision for it, though the first one where it wants to restart stuff after a pam upgrade...that's annoying. Just do it okay, stuff it restarted weren't working right along the way anyways. Namely I found that I couldn't access websites...at first I thought the squid had become dorked, and I couldn't restart it because invoking /etc/init.d/squid said it was now a service...but using service didn't find it. Though later I realized it wasn't working because DNS was broke ('box' is my primary DNS server)... I was able to restart that in the usual manner.

Partly because of the pauses, and a bit due to slow download....it wasn't looking like I would finish before 'bedtime'....but it seemed that it would be close enough.... It wasn't, but I ended up staying up to the bitter end. So, that I could reboot and do a quick check that all was clean.

Namely, I checked that named, dhcpd, ntpd and squid were running (since these were some key services of this server, and were ones that often failed to start after boot in karmic...especially named. Manual start always worked...at one time I was restarting these services in rc.local where it always worked rather than at the 'normal' time).

Then I went to fill in the missing icons in my launcher panel....there were two holes, there also seemed to be a hole in the tray area. The missing icons were Evolution (which I right-clicked to make reappear), and boxee (which I installed the latest of). I then called it a night.

The next morning, I continued to poke around some more....adjust appearance, add some chat/broadcast accounts...and look into my ubuntuone issue....first the tray thing was missing, apparently its by design...but, I don't remember that. I poked around some more and some more....then I looked at 'ulkc' and saw that it also didn't have the tray applet anymore, and I just didn't miss it... So, I then went to check that it was connected to my account and sync'd. Actually, it really was syncing, etc. When I was at Penguicon, I had put a copy of the pictures I had taken into my cloud...expecting to see them later on 'box' when I got home. But, it would never appear. Upgrading 'ulkc' didn't help things.

During the poking around, I disconnected 'box' and reconnected...and that apparently fixed whatever was wrong, as it started syncing...and soon the folders appeared.

While this was going on, I thought that maybe I would need to finish things up by remote....so sadly I discovered that remote desktop still doesn't work in Lucid. Turning it on, consumes 50% of my CPU. My 8.04LTS (orac) doesn't suffer from this problem. But, I want to bring both servers in sync eventually, so I can see about getting failover for dhcp working between the two.

Oh well....at least it seems more successful than when I had upgraded 'box' to Karmic. And, now I'm at an LTS where it can stay for the next 2 years.... We'll see what happens when I upgrade from 8.04LTS to 10.04LTS next month....

05/15/10

  04:20:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1373 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, Storage, Ubuntu

5-bay RAID and backuppc

Ever since I learned about 5-bay port multiplier SATA enclosures, I've been wanting to get one to play with. And, when I acquired 'orac'...I sought out a port multiplier eSATA adapter to include in the build of the system. And, then waited for support of the adapter in ubuntu. Stopped on 8.04LTS and waited for inclusion in a kernel.

I took a step closer when I finally got the 2-bay enclosure to mirror a pair of drives I had impulsively purchased. Since it worked, I then then bought a 5-bay enclosure (it came up as a NewEgg ShellShocker).

But, after some thought, I decided that what I wanted to do was build a 5 disk RAID5 using 1.5TB drives....so it would get me at least 5TB of real storage. And, set that I would wait until 1.5TB drives were under $100.

In the meantime, I collected a bunch of old SATA drives to see what I trouble I could get into....it didn't last long, as one was definitely dead and two quickly failed. Of course, two of the had been kicked out of RAID1 setups previously, and the other was a failing drive that I replaced/upgraded. So, it was back to waiting.

Eventually, I got 3 Samsung 1.5TB drives through NewEgg ShellShocker. And, I set up a 3 disk RAID5. Sadly, it didn't last very long....one of the drives failed while I was building the array. I exchanged it for a new drive with NewEgg, and waited for it before trying again. While I was waiting, I formatted it a bunch of times and learning about smartctl and various things of drive repair. One of the remaining two original drives, was showing signs of slow death and one unrecoverable sector. When, the new drive arrived...I did a long self test and a quick, but full, format....taking a couple days before I created the 3 disk RAID 5.

Once, that was done, I created a new big filesystem that is /var/lib/backuppc to have backuppc on 'orac'. Initially a 1TB filesystem.

Then one day, the bad happened. A drive on 'gumby' failed. It was time to stop putting off figuring out how to setup backuppc and start putting stuff into it. It turned out to be a lot easier than it thought to get started, though I did have to rebuild smbclient to have a longer timeout to get it successfully complete a full backup of a given partition. I then learned some other stuff and fine tuned the configs.... One big change was I broke out the windows hosts into individual partitions (ie, gumby_c, gumby_e, gumby_f), and came up with a 'semaphore' solution so that it wouldn't backup more than one partition at a time from a windows host. Eventually, I had all my systems in it (it fully backs up everything except itself, where it backs up only key parts....) I even got it backing up my work Mac Book Pro.

I later grew the filesystem out to 2TB.

Pages: 1· 2

05/13/10

  06:53:48 pm, by The Dreamer   , 818 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, BOINC, Storage

Good-bye Gumby, Hello new Gumby

So, I decided yesterday...in the midst of a tornado watch, etc. that it was time to pull the plug on the old Windows 2000 box known as 'gumby' and set up a new 'gumby' using the off-lease Lenovo Thinkcenter M55 that I got from TigerDirect when I got back from Penguicon. Odd that last year when I got back from Penguicon, I got a Lenovo Ideapad 3000 v200....the thinking then was that the 9" netbook was a little too small for my Linux laptopping needs, so I got a 12" laptop....thinking now is a 12" netbook or something, but that'll be another story. This year's thinking is that the bookpc (Pentium 3 933MHz i815 512MB), running Windows 2000 Professional, was getting to be too slow for my needs, and maybe I would get one of those Windows XP Pro boxes from Tigerdirect, and actually run it.

The previous two IBM Thinkcentres I got from Tigerdirect got turned into Linux servers....

The odd thing of course, is that this new computer is somewhat more powerful that my main Windows desktop ('tardis' - Pentium 4 3.2GHz w/2GB)....as it is a Pentium D 3.4GHz w/2GB. (And, there are already plans to up to 4GB of memory....plan to upgrade 'orac' to its max of 8GB from its current 6GB...and the 2GB displaced is compatible here.)

After taking the old gumby apart and moving it aside, I put the new system in place...adding a firewire card (an adaptec one left over from my early iPod days) and a USB to PS/2 serial adapter to use it with my existing 4 port KVM. I left the two firewire drives from the old gumby detached for now.

I then setup and activated the Windows XP and started working it back into my home network....then added the external drives back. I then started working on tweaking it to my preferences and installing common apps like firefox.

During this I did a restore of old files from backuppc, and that went great....so I queued up a pile more. And, then installed the ever important BOINC...and set into the long process of reconnecting to various projects.

I then continued to install various common apps, along with a few extras that I think could be useful for what I do on the machine...and even better now that it is faster and has more memory. Two things that I used to do that got left behind were WiRNS and DVArchive....but I got Poopli Updater working again. Had stopped using WiRNS a few days earlier with my remaining ReplayTVs....

Suddenly it was 10:30pm....

I poked around a bit more then next morning and a little bit more remotely....so much nicer now that the machine has more memory and processing power.

Even though I'm going to reestablish getting it backed up in backuppc, I decided that I want to still have local disk-to-disk backup using Retrospect or something to an external drive. The original Maxtor OneTouch II drive that I used to use for this had died, and redeploy of an old internal drive had also gone away....but I had used Retrospect's restore to recover from bare metal before, and that's something backuppc doesn't do.

The question was how I do get Retrospect back on to this machine? I considered quickly buying a new external drive (wasn't today's shellshocker....wait I'm boycotting buying harddrives that way aren't I?) and I just couldn't get myself to pull the trigger on one at the KSU Union Computer Store....perhaps next week....

While I was looking around...I noticed that the Retrospect had stopped running on my other Windows computer (tardis)....in fact it had last run on May 13th, 2009. !!! I poked around trying to find out why it wasn't working...but gave up.... Since I got home I got it running manually, guess I'll make a note to check later to see if it runs automatically again.

Probably time to update the restore cd.

Meanwhile, don't feel that in a hurry to get that last step for 'gumby' in place. Though upgrading and replacing harddrives is certainly something I will eventually want to do.

Running Acronis MigrateEasy might be interesting. This is the tool I got when I wanted to upgrade the 80GB drive in 'gumby' to something bigger. First it was to a 250GB, but then I found that the BIOS in the machine wouldn't handle larger than 137GB....so I then used it to go to a 120GB drive. Now the new 'gumby' has a 160GB drive....and I'm sure I'm going to want to upgrade eventually. I reinstalled the program, but one of the things the install wizard complained about is no floppy drive....ya...first desktop I've purchased that didn't have a floppy drive, hmm...

May have to look at upgrading the MigrateEasy or something. Though I think replacing the current external drives will be first on the list....since I already lost one of the 3 a while back.

Think tomorrow or later tonight, I'll add 'gumby' back into backuppc.

05/08/10

  02:31:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 990 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, Ubuntu

Upgrading to Lucid Lynx

Since I got back from Penguicon 2010, it had been my plan to test out upgrading to Lucid Lynx.

I didn't get around to it the first day back to work, since I was busy catching up on 1000s of emails and making sure things that my co-workers had ignored or overlooked during my absence got done. I then came home with a fever, and ended up taking the next day off from work. The fever broke Thursday night, so I went back to work on Friday...even though head is still all stuffed up and I had a killer sinus headache.

Finally, near the end of the day, I remembered that I wanted to try the upgrade....

At work, I have two Karmic Koala VMs, running in VirtualBox on a Sun Ultra 20 running Solaris 10/x64.

One VM is/was a 32-bit server....it runs BOINC all the time, got a squid instance when I was testing something and more recently I set up backuppc so that I'd have backups of my windows desktop at work. The other VM is a 32-bit desktop which is mainly so I can offload and run my mail/calendar client on...since the Windows computer is starting to suffer with the bloat and growth of apps...the more recent versions of Thunderbird and Firefox are very resource intensive, and I can't run both at the same time anymore.

Though what I do now is run Thunderbird and direct it to open on Cygwin/X running on the Windows box. Since, I want it to be visible all the time as I'm doing tasks come from emails. Makes it strange opening links and attachments though, since they won't go to the Firefox/apps on my windows box....etc.

I first upgraded the server VM, and it largely worked without any major issues....the only thing is that it does complain with "Your CPU is lacking expected security protection"....the checker says the CPU family has NX, but my BIOS isn't ... but the box to enable PAE/NX in VirtualBox is checked. So, guess its just a bug with Ubuntu running in VirtualBox.

I then upgraded the desktop VM...again that went okay.

The server VM originally started out as a Jaunty Jackalope, and went to Karmic Koala...so that was my first experience that 32-bit servers are no longer supported by Ubuntu (I mentioned it as the Ubuntu Q+A at Penguicon, but was ignored...when they were saying that Ubuntu supports a wide range of older hardware..I have older hardware that won't run 64-bit that I use a servers at home...plus I ran into a lot of problems getting 32-bit apps to work on my 64-bit hardy heron server.) Hopefully someday there'll be a way to go from 32-bit to 64-bit, on the machines that can support 64-bit but had 32-bit Ubuntu installed on them.

So, last night....after making backuppc complete that day's incremental. I set out to upgrade my laptop 'ulkc' to Lucid Lynx. This is a laptop, and I originally installed Jaunty Jackalope 32-bit on it, even though its a Core 2 Duo. Main thing is that boxee didn't support 64-bit, and it was one of the key apps I wanted to run...at the time (I've never actually used it on here though...since the streams that wouldn't show on my AppleTV+Boxee also wouldn't work on here. Forcing me to resort to iTunes/AppleTV to get the content.

The upgrade was largely straight forward....though along with disabling 3rdparty sources, it removed picasa (that's the main thing I noticed missing).

Afterwards, I left the computer on, and ran a new full backup into backuppc.

This morning I did some poking around of the usual apps that I use...Firefox/Thunderbird. Of course, Thunderbird is now 3.04...so it did its upgrade/migrate thing and loss of extensions that haven't been updated for 3.x and don't work if I do 'make compatible'. I hope someday these extensions will appear....mainly the View Header toggle button and Mail Redirect.

Being that I some how am an email admin at work, needing to see full headers is something that happens regularly....and mail redirect is handy when I send a message, and then realize that I forgot to CC/BCC somebody...I can then do that with redirect and they won't see the alteration to the email that forwarding does. Also useful to 'cc' a copy of an email that was sent directly to me rather than through proper channels (even if I'll be the one that ends up doing the work).

I left the computer on again...so Thunderbird can do its new (annoying) thing....and guess it'll eventually get picked up for today's incremental...unless I go back to using it before it runs and suspend it.

Not sure when I'm going to upgrade my Ubuntu servers. 'box' is currently a karmic koala 32-bit server (older P4 that doesn't do 64-bit)...was a jaunty jackalope...though I probably should've made it a hardy heron...to match 'orac'...since there are things (namely DHCP fail-over) that I can't do due to version mismatches. But, the plan is to make both servers run the 10.04LTS...where they'll stay until 12.04LTS comes out, or not?

I'm very hesitant about touching 'orac'....because its working, has critical functions, and its temperamental. Of course, 'box' has functions more critical to my overall home network...but I'm going to risk the upgrade of it, to get it to an LTS version.

It was my original intent to not upgrade the servers until at least a couple months have past...since when I had upgraded 'box' to karmic koala shortly after its release, stuff important to me (name DNS) didn't work. apparmor was breaking it. Eventually they released the kernel upgrade that resolved the issue. Though building a 32-bit server kernel each time, etc. was also kind of painful. I've since opted to just have the server running on the 'generic-pae' kernel.

'orac' can continue to be a server, since it is a 64-bit system.

I'll probably go back to the waiting...there are other things I should get to first....

  01:30:12 pm, by The Dreamer   , 956 words  
Categories: Stuff, Home Theatre, Computer, Home

Got Another PowerSource 400

The other day, as I was rebuilding my 5 disk RAID array (which I mean to blog about someday)...for the umpteenth time. A storm came in one morning....this made me concerned about losing power and breaking my RAID in some bad state (it had happened once before). Now I did have the computer and its two disk arrays (and as it turned out monitor) on a Geeksquad 1285VA UPS. And, more serious now that I have quite a lot of data backed up onto this array using backuppc. Had gone through some scary periods where I thought I'd have to start over from scratch.

But, decided that may it was time to put it on a PowerSource 400, like my other two Linux servers. So, I went to my usual source....not available from there, but it listed 3 other sellers; two selling for substantially more than it used to sell for and one selling refurbished units. I went looking around online for other sources, including one other that I had considered as an alternative option (because they shipped using FedEx ground). Found that pretty much everybody that had listings for it, showed it as discontinued and not in stock. I check eBay, there were a few listings...but they were mostly of the store demo variety....seemed too risky for me, given past experiences.

So, I put it in my cart for the next time I was going to place a home bound Amazon Prime order (a PowerSource 400 is a heavy item, so even if I don't know when it'll arrive...I wouldn't want to be lugging it back from the UPS Store).

As it happened, the seller shipped it by UPS Basic, and the mail man showed up with it on the day that I stayed home sick....ran the bell twice and then left it on my door step (took me a while to unmask, get out of bed and find some pants). I didn't immediately set it up....but found somewhere to plug it in to at least charge. I was fully discharged, so it would take a while.

Later that evening a big storm came into the area, alert said golf ball sized hail....it sounded pretty intense out there. Just had to happen as I was trying to do the UPS swap. Discovered some oddities about how I have things run for power around my desk that I had forgotten about. But, I think it is all sorted out now. Though I may opt to move the monitor to another UPS at some later point.

Currently, monitor, server (orac) and the two raid boxes (2 drive - RAID1, 5 drive - RAID6) are on this 'new' PowerSource 400 and its reading 250-260W.

Annoyingly the literature doesn't give an estimate for loads >100W on the PowerSource 400....so I'm not really sure how much time I'll get at this...but hope its something. For comparison. 'lhaven' on its PowerSource 400 is reading 100-110W, and 'box' and the network gear (5 port gigabit switch and g access point) on its PowerSource 400 is reading 150-160W. I may pull the access point off the UPS at some later point in the future, since it is deprecated as I mainly use my Airport Extreme now...which is in another location and on a PowerSource 400.

That other PowerSource 400 is reading ~130W...it has 2 TiVo HDs, both with DVR Expanders, router, 16 port 10/100 switch, and the Airport Extreme. I was originally planning to add a RAID USB storage device to the Airport Extreme...though not sure now...that I have my work Mac Book Pro set up as a client to backuppc. (it also rarely comes how now.)

I don't think I have the courage to test how long any of my PowerSource 400s will actually last....but so far I've been happy with the ones that have endured the few extended outages I experienced last year.

I wonder what will be the successor to the PowerSource 400....and whether there'll be more PowerSource 400s, or what, in the future for me.

Pages: 1· 2

05/04/10

  11:26:40 am, by The Dreamer   , 1745 words  
Categories: General, Digital Photography, Travel, TiVo HD / Premiere / Elite

Penguicon 8.0 and beyond.... #pcon

I have returned from Penguicon 2010 (8.0), something I almost didn't go to. But, I'm glad I did. I saw lots of interesting panels and things, I met up with people that I only see at Penguicon.

Why did I almost not attend this year? Well, last year I took a lot abuse for volunteering at Penguicon 7.0 and I was pissed about that whole experience, even though I had prereg'd for this year. I was ready to walk away from the prereg and never come back.

It continued to be a possibility throughout the year...and I mentioned the possibility online a few times on facebook and twitter. I got a few DMs and such that I would be missed ... still on the fence, I went ahead and booked the hotel. Knowing that I could cancel as things got closer. Like last year I had booked hotel for OLF, but right when it was finally time to investigate booking airplane tickets...I opted to cancel that, the bills from the bike accident were eating up my discretionary credit funds and I was more committed to going to Chicago Tardis later on.

As Penguion 2010 drew closer it was time to decide if I would not attend or lock in an airplane flight. Around that time there was a lot of twitter traffic about Southwest, which I was considering the use of. Though in the end I went with Delta since they had non-stop service from MCI to DTW. I was concerned that I might need to check a bag on the way back, but I ended up not buying all that much at Penguicon. OTOH, maybe I do wish I had gone Southwest...because it was a miserable flight going up...because even though paid for a full seat, I only had half seat to sit in...the guy next to me required a seatbelt extender and was pouring into my seat. And, the plane was full so there was no where to go and it was a fixed armrest so I couldn't get that out of the way....plus the flight attendant didn't seem to care that I was spilling into the aisle because of lack of seat, just that I was in the way of the beverage cart....

The flight going back was somewhat better, except for the 45 minutes between leaving the gate and finally leaving the ground of Detroit. And, now it looks like I have a RoadRunner issue to resolve. They changed me a return fare, even though I paid for a full roundtrip fare at the beginning.....again. They are probably punishing me for being a frequent traveler and having my credit card information on file. Could be why another passenger wanted to make sure that Roadrunner wouldn't keep her credit card information if she paid with a credit card....though the answer didn't say they wouldn't, she paid with the credit card anyways.

Back to pre-con....even though I had booked the flight, as well as after I had made the Roadrunner reservation and the scheduled the hold of mail. Though this year I didn't prearrange transportation in Detroit, and just winged it with taxi service....an extra $85 each way. Wonder how that compared with 2 years ago....darn Quicken doesn't make this easy.... Hey, I came out better...2 years ago it was $190 roundtrip. Though on just that part....probably.

But, I was still considering not attending.... Now penguicon.org is among my daily bookmarks, and also around the time of deciding to pull the trigger on the Roadrunner reservation and mail hold...was the announcement that Geeks with Guns was now on for Penguicon. So, I fired off an email to inquire about getting registered for that. That was a big of an ordeal, since for a while I didn't hear anything. And, things at work were getting crazy, so I was contemplating letting work throw my balance more off and not go. But, doing Geeks with Guns was something I couldn't see myself passing up on. While I never got confirmation, and didn't know when the assembly was taking place, etc. It happened and all was good.

Though don't think I'll ever recover getting work and life back in balance....since I maxed out at 304 hours about 1.5 years ago and have lost some 13 days of vacation time. Of course the wheels fell off at work the day I started this vacation....but, I did well enough at keeping this a vacation. Did fix some stuff while I was waiting for my flight at MCI, was nice to see they finally fixed the netmask issue. And, I did some more the first night using hotel wireless, which wasn't included in the hotel rate, and I incurred charges for 3 of the nights. I got it that first night, mainly because I wanted to hit the Narcolepsy chat on TalkAboutSleep, though I almost didn't make it because I got invited to do ConCom supper at TGIF....a new experience for me, having not found much to do the Thursday night in previous times....and later there was a pre-consuite gathering. But, I wanted to turn in normalish...so that I would at least be well rested for the start of the con, and for doing Geeks with Guns. Though the chat was still going on, on account of the time difference, so I caught the end of that....and ended up going to sleep at what would be a normal time without the timezone difference. Though I woke before the alarm....which could be more to do with my current set of sleep issues rather than anything to do with the con. Maybe I should've packed the Ambien...but usually I sleep better in hotels than I do at home.

Though it wasn't quite that way, since my allergies were really bad this time around...

I didn't bother getting Internet the next night, but got it Saturday night so that I could poke around a bit on my servers at home and get my doctor who fix. Think wireless at the hotel might note have suffered as much if there were some organization of it. Since, I found other people also getting it through other means. I may have gotten wireless too early on Saturday night...because it takes a while for TiVoToGo to process. Though it was hard getting the media file from home to the hotel. I do sometimes think about getting a SlingBox, but not sure how it'll work in letting me access all 3 of my TiVos (well, there's only 2 right now, but I'm thinking of a third -- TiVo Premiere -- down the road). I know you can access content on other TiVos from one TiVo, but my TiVos are pretty tight on space....in fact due to being at Penguicon....I have had content bumped off of my TiVos. Though it was likely that I would never find the time to watch those shows (mainly movies and miniseries are the oldest content on the boxes....guess I'll just set up a wishlist recording to see about finding the show in the future again, or use other technological solutions to catch up....should I ever get to that).

I eventually got around to getting the fix Sunday morning...and later ran into groups of people doing the same.

I also renewed my Internet when it expired Sunday afternoon, so that I would have some Internet post con...and before checkout. Though I wasn't auto checked out....but I left my laptop on overnight so that it could trickle the pictures from my camera up into the cloud somewhere. Should go and see about getting it down from the cloud....

As for the Con, it was informative and fun...and there were times where there was too much stuff to choose between (though other times where there was a lull, some good...some bad....) I didn't have to totally depend on the consuite for food during, since there was some reasonably priced on site food available....though its availability and variety was somewhat lacking. IE: Sunday lunch....I wasn't sure I wanted to do pizza again, I suppose chicken strips might have been an option....so I went up to see what the consuite was having, but they were tearing down...so I went back downstairs and cash lunch service had ended. And, then it was time for the next panel that I wanted to see...and that was back to back with others for the rest of the con. pigging out on chips (or something) and other snackage during the dead dog is what I did....was fine.

Though maybe that's why I'm sick now. Or maybe I shouldn't have gone with more pizza when I got home last night.

One thing I did get to do at the Con that I wish I had...was to learn and play some games. I missed out on the times when they had Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne out, and the Fluxx event didn't happen because the previous thing ran long, so the event person chose not to show up and run it. Learning new games might have been interesting, but seems when the opportunity presented itself....I didn't have enough time to commit to the experience. That's a sign of a good con, right?

Biggest change I did this year? I had resolved that if I did show up, I wasn't going to volunteer again. Since, the volunteer experience at Penguicon 7.0 (along with a few other issues like #beefline) was what ruined things for me.

One thing I didn't do at Penguicon 7.0, that I wish I had asked about during this con...was see if I could get a shirt of that con. Though I did get a shirt of this con, and I plan to wear it to work tomorrow.

Now since I didn't volunteer this year, the idea of pre-registering for next year didn't occur to me until it was too late to do so. But, right now I'm thinking I do want to come back next year (even though up until the con, I had been telling people that this was to be my last Penguicon). The reason is that it seems to be the only time I see the friends I have made at Penguicon.

Though I think I need to work on diversifying which cons I attend, and there are other cons in the vicinity of Penguicon weekend that I think I might want to check out someday. I suppose if it were such a huge ordeal (along with cost) to do cons, I could do more and closer together.....but I haven't won the lottery yet. Guess we'll see.

04/25/10

  03:57:39 pm, by The Dreamer   , 446 words  
Categories: Home, Safety & Security

The Better Peephole

Link: http://www.hammacher.com/Product/78129

I finally got a peephole, I don't know how or why I put off so long being without one...though it probably won't change my habit of not opening the door in the evening when I'm not expecting anyone, but it is a concern that I'm opening the door with no idea on who is on the other side.

But, being that I bought this home with no existing peephole...and being the gadget freak that I am, I wanted something fancy...

First there was the Door Scope, I had seen it in action at a few friends places...and it seemed to be the kind of thing I'd want. Except it requires a big hole and I'm not equipped to cut such a hole myself, and seemed a big investment to take on for a one time thing (hopefully).

Then I came across the Digital Door Viewer on some gadget blogs, which seemed to be exactly what I wanted to get. Except that nobody seemed to sell it, and I couldn't tell how as a consumer that I could get it from them directly.... It was also kind of pricey for something I wasn't totally sure about...and there were plenty of other gadgets that kept my discretionary funds tied up with.

Then more recently, in a Hammacher Schlemmer catalog...I spotted The Better Peephole....it was a more affordable approach to what I wanted. So, eventually, I pulled the trigger and got it. I picked it up yesterday from the UPS Store.

Wasn't sure when I'd get around to installing it....but the mood struck me this Sunday, since I didn't otherwise feel like doing anything else. So, after putting some juice into a battery pack for my drill (I had purchased a 9/16" bit on a reducing shaft to fit my 3/8" drill, some time ago in anticipation of this project). I tried to drill a hole.

Drilling through the steel of the door turned out harder than I expected...which is probably a good thing about the door. But, then once I got through, little white beads popped out....I guess somehow I thought the fill of the door was going to be something equally solid. Surprise. Guess insulating is more important....

And, finally I got it all installed. And, that's my next disappointment....the image quality is dismal. Though I guess its a standard peephole with a fixed digital camera butted up to it....having some kind of focus control would probably help.

Perhaps the Digital Door Viewer will be a future purchase, since it appears camera element that mounts through the front of the door and has a wire to the viewer on the other side....so it should get better image quality. Hmm...

04/04/10

  08:05:03 pm, by The Dreamer   , 5 words  
Categories: DVDs / NetFlix

DVD: Planet 51

04/02/10

  08:16:22 am, by The Dreamer   , 300 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, BOINC

box now has 2GB

A couple of days ago, I got a second stick of 1GB PC3200 DDR memory...and last night I finally got around to upgrading 'box' to 2GB. I had previously throwing a 1GB stick into a geeks.com order to bring 'box' to 1.5GB.

Nothing special of note happened with either upgrade. Just that I now have the maximum for this system, and it should allow it to better run BOINC work.

Though the current RNA World work assignments are calling for memory that I only have one machine that has at least that much memory....but it has 4 cores, so it can't run more than one RNA World at a time...and if I mix in other work with RNA World....the RNA World jobs always miss their deadline, because the estimation perpetually wrong.

Anyways....after I had done this...it occurred to me that I had done something odd....my main desktop (known as 'tardis') is suffering with low memory (firefox keeps consuming more and more memory...sometimes its consuming over 800MB....not to mention all my CPU....and then I made that mistake of upgrading to Thunderbird 3....plus Tweetdeck is pretty big too) Why am I not upgrading the memory in there....it has 4 slots, currently filled with 512MB PC3200 DDR memory. And, I should be able to change two of the slots for 1GB PC3200 DDR memory and everything should work. Could do 4GB, but don't think it'll see it all.

Though that computer was pretty temperamental on what kind of PC3200 memory it got....though when I do get around to finally replacing that computer, the 1GB sticks would probably go well in to 'box'....had I thought about this process better :lalala:

Wonder if there'll be hardware upgrades to my main desktop between now and when I finally get around to replacing it. Think the machine turns 7 soon.

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Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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